Meanwhile, Back With The Forerunner
What better time to continue with Luke's Gospel as he builds toward his climax than in the New Year. Mirroring what he did in the birth narratives, Luke will first introduce the ministry of John the Baptist, the Messiah's herald. Then after a snapshot of John's ministry, he introduces us to Jesus as an adult. Before we jump forward in time at least eighteen years, let's review what we already know about John.
For example, from Luke's text we know that he will be "great before the LORD" (1:15), that he won't drink wine or beer (1:15), and that he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even in his mother's womb (1:15). We know that his ministry will cause many of his own people to return to the LORD, their God, especially fathers to their children (1:16,17), and that he will be a prophet like Elijah (1:17). Most importantly, we know he will prepare the way for the LORD Himself to make a grand entrance to His people (1:17).
In the infancy narrative Luke gave us proof of the Spirit's presence in John when he told us how he surprised his mother by stirring in her womb the second the pregnant Mary showed up at his dad's house (1:44). Then, eight days after his birth at his circumcision and naming, all the family and friends asked the question Luke wants us to ask, "What then is this child going to be? For the LORD's hand is with him" (Luke 1:66).
The last time we saw John in Luke's story he was growing, becoming strong, and living in the wilderness (1:80), so where do you think we might find him next?
As we end this week and begin a New Year, I feel I need to ask myself some questions:
Is my heart prepared and still responsive to Jesus, the Messiah?
Are there times when I "leap for joy" because of His presence in my life or do I remain distant and controlled in worship, resisting any childlike exuberance?
Will I respond as the Spirit stirs me in 2017 to openly express love by my words and actions to Mary, my kids, and grand kids?
LORD, as I begin 2017, help me answer these questions with a strong "Yes!" Turn me away from sin and keep my heart soft and tender toward You. Turn my heart towards home, towards Mary and my entire extended family even more in this New Year.
Note: What we did today in our Devo is important! We went back and reminded ourselves what Luke has already told us about John the Baptist, one of the main characters in his Gospel. We must livein this Story Luke is telling us. We must open ourselves to the kind of person John the Baptist was and what he did. We can't do this unless we read from the beginning and let Luke's words present the characters, places, times, and plot of the Story. Reading a few sentences here and there, only tracking certain words and themes, or approaching random clips from the text looking for moralistic lessons, will never cause us to get into the Story. We will be as deaf to what God's Word is saying as Zechariah, John's dad, was during Elizabeth's pregnancy. Helping you to learn to track the Story-this is one of Truth Encounter's major commitments. Let us know how we are doing in accomplishing this purpose.
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